Educators Concerned Over President’s Proposed 2018 Budget

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Officials with the American Federation of Teachers are concerned about the president’s 2018 budget draft. 

They said it would be a crushing blow to students living in poverty, including some students in McDowell County.

Southside K-8 students, who 59News was told have practically nothing, may soon have a little less. They go to school in War, a community that is 100 percent below the poverty line, according to the principal. 

About 100 of these children take advantage of their after school program four days a week. 

“After school programs are more than just academics,” Greg Cruey, Southside K-8 teacher, said. “We start out with a meal. And it’s a nice healthy meal, and for some of them it’s that third meal of the day that they might not get any place else.”

The Southside K-8 after school program is federally funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. 

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget draft, which can be found by going to https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf,  proposes the country can save more than a billion dollars by cutting it. 

Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president, called the move cruel to children who need it most. 

“Our most vulnerable population, the future of our country. Snatching their opportunities,” she said.

Southside K-8 is one of thousands of schools across the nation that have after school programs for its students in need through 21st Century Community Learning Centers. 

But the president’s budget draft said the programs lack strong evidence of improving student achievement. Cruey told 59News the after school programs, at least for the many children in poverty, aren’t about that.

“[The president] is looking for evidence of an academic nature,” Cruey said. “And we’re dealing with social issues.”

Weingarten said she’s expecting the final version of the president’s 2018 budget to be released on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

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